Hello everyone! This evening I am sharing Chapter VI of my sci-fi/historical fiction short story, From Edge to Edge. If you haven’t read the first chapter, you can do so here. Enjoy!
Chapter VI: A Ticket for Three
Javez wrapped his darkly clothed arms around Manteia’s trunk, sobbing. The elephant scooped her head low, eyes on the pale Yevike.
“My friend, Manteia, be free, be free,” he whispered, removing the harness from his beloved pet. “Be free!”
Joan stood off at the side, arms folded, silently missing the elephant already. Upon their travels, she had reconnected with the old acquaintance. One would be naive in calling them friends – yet they also were not enemies. Joan and Peter saved his people’s lives once, and therefore he laid forever in debt. The two got along of course, but upon random moments of time, a sudden argument would sprout. As would be expected between a young Yevike and human.
“We need to be going,” Joan said as Manteia lumbered off quietly into the forest. “There are only a few more days left before the window closes.”
“Right, right,” Javez said, wiping his eyes of dark blue tears. “What is our next big goal?”
“You want to see Barra Patuca? I hear there are Llamas.”
“Llamas!” Javez cried, eyes wide. “How dare you!”
Joan laughed mercilessly, quite aware of the deep fear Javez had of llamas. It all started a few years prior to the sun flare when his people were visiting Earth’s Peru. They were given llamas to ride, and his had gotten stung by a bee and ran off the path. He had fallen off and tumbled down the massive hill, fortunately unharmed. Since then, Javez had an intense fear of llamas.
“Well, we are passing through Palawan, San Lorenzo, then we have to find a way from the Honduras to Portugal,” Joan said. “Any suggestions?”
“We could take that,” Javez said, motioning to a giant steamer in the distance.
The two raced toward into the town of Nha Trang of Vietnam, Joan changing her disguise on the way to a Londoner’s. She was almost back – so close. The steamer’s engine could be heard roaring to life as the two leaped onto the first deck. They paid one hundred pounds each, collapsing into chairs overlooking the town.
Joan gasped, shook Javez, and pointed out to the port. A chirpy man in an ankle-long trench coat and newsboy hat stood at near the ticketmaster, talking in a concerned voice. His appearance was unmistakable – Peter Forkins. Javez recognized the Legendeer as well, leaping forward and shouting. The man looked up, eyes wide in recognition, as the steamer pulled away. Peter screamed, pushed forward to get on the steamer but was held back. He must have lacked sufficient funds.
“Peter!” Joan cried, reaching over the deck’s bars.
Peter grasped her hand for a second before the ship’s momentum pulled Joan further away. She sat there, silent, staring in dismay at her friend upon the dock. Days passed as the Indian Trailing pushed through the water, at least reaching the stunning Honduras. The silent Jantez and Joan got off, plowing through the tall grasses. They walked for hours until finding a vehicle – a 1914 Ford Model T Touring Car – for rent. Their path was aimless, thrusting pounds into the arms of the driver and plopping dead like stones into the back seats.
At last, the two found themselves staring at the Atlantic Ocean, speaking the first words in days.
“We will never make it. There are no ships here,” Joan said, stepping into the shallow water. “Peter will never make it.”
“There has got to be something,” Jantez said, running his hand against a palm tree.
“Will these beauties work?” Joan asked, laughing as she grasped onto the back of a bottlenose dolphin.
“Brilliant!” Jantez said, jumping onto another one. “No wonder they call you the Great Adventurer.”
“I’ve never heard that one before,” Joan said.
“Well, it is yours now. Let’s go, we might find a ship,” Jantez said, then turned to whisper to the dolphin.
The two were off, clothes soaking wet but making progress. Within three hours, the sun setting, they heard shouts and music. The dolphins slowed to a stop and Joan shouted in excitement.
“The RMS Olympic!” Joan exclaimed, nodding in the quickening dark to a large, powerful steamer.
Jantez shouted, pushing his dolphin forward, followed by Joan. Within minutes, they were beside the steamer and ladders were lowered from above.
“Welcome aboard the RMS Olympic, my friends,” a man said, smiling.
“Peter!” Joan and Jantez said at once, hugging the legendary man.
“How did you make it on a ship?” Jantez asked.
“Oh, I have my ways. I might ask the same to you about the dolphins,” Peter said, winking. “No worries, I will not tell anyone you stole captive dolphins from the Honduras.”
Joan and Jantez gave one another peculiar looks, eyebrows raised. Mr. Peter Forkins goes to tell the rumors spreading through all of the Americas: two bottlenose dolphins for the circus had escaped early August 28th. Then rumor had spread that two young adults had stolen away upon the creatures into the unknowns of the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, no one knew the two were still alive and well upon the RMS Olympic.
“It is a fifty year sentence in prison according to the laws of the Honduras,” Mr. Forkins said, laughing. “Thing is, this exact moment is 12:30 and 45 seconds AM, the 29th of August. Make that 12:31 AM.”
“Which means we have less than four days to finish our journey,” Joan said. “Oh, and you remember Jantez and the Yevikes, no?”
“How could I not! I am glad to see you are well, my dear friend!” Peter exclaimed, slapping Jantez on the shoulder. “How are your people?”
After a moment of deadly silence, Jantez finally speaks. “All dead.”
Nothing more was said for the remainder of the trip as the three rode the steamer to Porto, Portugal. The air was misty and silent, August 30th, 1914.